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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Providing hope for parents of children with addictions

By KATIE McQUAID
February 02. 2018 9:45PM

Patty Perkins-Wiley poses at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester on Friday with a painting called "Banquet of Antony and Cleopatra" by Jan de Bray, which will be used in her program to help parents of children with opioid addictions to use art in recovery. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)



A program at the Currier Museum of Art designed to support parents who have children suffering from a substance abuse disorder starts Monday, Feb. 5. It’s free, and open to the public. But very few people have signed up.

We all know families affected by the current drug crisis, so why the disconnect? Organizers think it may have to do with the shame and stigma some parents feel when they have a child battling addiction.

“Yes, one of the sensitivities we’ve been responding to all along in our efforts to create a support group has been the need to protect people’s privacy,” said Bruce McColl, the Currier’s director of art education.

McColl stressed that “The Art of Hope” will be run during hours when the museum is closed to the public and will be the only program running that night. Parents will be meeting with three parent-mentors and three art educators, alone. There will be a clinician from Catholic Charities Counseling Services on hand to support parents in need of one-on-one support and participants will be known only on a first-name basis.

“Our goal is to create a welcoming, private and supportive environment for these parents, a special experience to share together in the beautiful setting of the Currier with educators who wish to support them through conversations, connection, and art,” said McColl.

Patty Perkins-Wiley is one of three parent mentors who will be there to talk to participants about what she learned as the parent of a child with a substance abuse disorder. She hopes affected parents will work up the courage to come to the Currier, connect with others who understand their struggle, and care for themselves.

“Self-care is so important,” she said. “When you’re worried about your loved one there’s no time to care for yourself ... You’re in a hole. You can’t get out. You can’t even see where the light is.”

Parents who attend “The Art of Hope” will face no judgment and will benefit from the peaceful and serene surroundings of the Currier.

“The place is so serene and peaceful. The place itself can give you that feeling of ‘Oh, I can breathe,’” she said.

Perkins-Wiley’s son is now in remission from his addiction and studying to be an electrician.

“He’s changed his whole life back to the son I recognize,” she said. “I feel like I’m living a miracle.”

If you or someone you know has a child struggling with a substance abuse disorder, please let them know about this program. You can even share this article on social media in hopes that it reaches someone struggling in silence.

“Art of Hope” will be offered on Mondays, Feb. 5 through Feb. 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. Registration is not required. For more information, contact Lynn Thomson at 603-518-4951 or lthomson@currier.org.

Mill Falls lottery

If you’re looking at alternative public school options for your kindergarten through sixth-grader, Mill Falls Charter School is currently accepting applications for enrollment in the 2018 lottery.

Families interested in enrolling in the lottery are strongly encouraged to attend one of the remaining lottery information sessions. These events give attendees the opportunity to learn more about the public Montessori school and the charter school model.

Information sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, March 10, at 10 a.m. They will be held at Mill Falls Charter School, 100 William Loeb Drive, Unit 1, Manchester, NH.

There are currently 168 students at Mill Falls Charter School. Families do not pay tuition to attend.

To learn more about Mill Falls Charter School and the 2018 lottery process, please visit www.millfalls.org

Pop in for the pop-up

A pop-up art event will be held at the Kelly Stelling Contemporary gallery at 221 Hanover Street this weekend, Feb. 3 and 4.

The gallery’s current exhibition of paintings called “Things I have no words for” will be complemented by one-of-a-kind handcrafted furniture and improvisational performances by dancers from Ballet Misha.

There will be an opening reception Saturday, Feb. 3 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Farm and Forest flub

The 35th annual New Hampshire Farm and Forest Expo is today, as opposed to last weekend as “The Scene” erroneously reported. So head down to the Radisson between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. today for agriculture-related exhibitors, free educational workshops, NH Made Products, a Kidzone, demonstrations, live animals, and more.

Admission price is $7 per person with those 16 and younger admitted for free.

Do you have an interesting topic you think readers of The Scene should know about? Email Katie at Scene@UnionLeader.com.


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